Michelle's Story

After overcoming others' views about her gender identity, Michelle then had to get through depression and the trauma of transitioning. She completed her recovery by helping others with theirs.

I was in a state of anxiety most of my young life

I looked a bit different than the others and acted a little bit different. I wanted to do girls things, but made sure nobody ever knew. I thought I’d just keep on trying to be macho Mike.

All sorts of things affect your mental health.


I lived in a state of sleep deprivation, alcohol and drugs from age 14 well into my 30s

It took its toll.  I transitioned in Australia. The anxiety of going over there, leaving my job and partner... it wasn’t just anxiety anymore; it had gone well, well past that into quite a severe depression.

Depression or anxiety is different for everyone


I let it go too far and that was the thing

I should have talked. I should have talked to someone but I had spent my whole life not talking to people. I thought that I would only bum people out. That is something I have learnt and I talk a lot with Tams.

There are things that can help you get through


Being a peer supporter helped me recover

When I got into recovery that is when I got into peer support; talking about recovery, helping other people see the light. So now, ten years later I am a service manager and I actually run two peer support services.

There are changes you can make to stay well


Now I have a really clear view of who I am and what I want to be and where I want to go

Other people's stories

I created a safe space

I look for positive things

I make music

I got into Waka Ama